Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Phage Cocktail Holds Promise for IBD

By combining multiple phages into a single therapy, a team led by scientists from the Weizmann Institute successfully used the bacteria-targeting viruses to specifically suppress gut bacteria associated with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). The work, which appears in Cell this week, demonstrates that phages can overcome bacterial resistance mechanisms and be used therapeutically. It is known that gut microbiota contributes to the aberrant immune responses that characterize IBDs, but the use of antibiotics against these microorganisms is associated with adverse effects, dysbiosis, and the emergence of resistant strains. Meanwhile, phages have proven to be an effective weapon against IBD-linked microbiota, but their effect is short-lived due to bacterial resistance and host immunity. In this week's study, the researchers compared the gut microbiota compositions of 537 IBD patients to healthy controls enrolled in cohort studies in the US, Israel, and Europe, finding a clade of Klebsiella pneumonia (Kp) strains common to the patients, particularly ones experiencing disease flareups. When transferred into mice, the Kp strains led to severe intestinal inflammation and tissue damage, highlighting its association with IBD. The investigators then analyzed thousands of phages and found around 40 that appear to target Kp strains, including ones that already have developed phage resistance. By combining them into different combination treatments, they hit on a five-phage cocktail that could suppress Kp strains and attenuate the effects of IBD in mouse models. An orally administered two-phage combo treatment was shown to survive and remain active in healthy human volunteers with no adverse events, and now the scientists are planning on testing the five-phage therapy in IBD patients

The Scan

Expanded Genetic Testing Uncovers Hereditary Cancer Risk in Significant Subset of Cancer Patients

In Genome Medicine, researchers found pathogenic or likely pathogenic hereditary cancer risk variants in close to 17 percent of the 17,523 patients profiled with expanded germline genetic testing.

Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy Embryos Appear Largely Normal in Single-Cell 'Omics Analyses

Embryos produced with spindle transfer-based mitochondrial replacement had delayed demethylation, but typical aneuploidy and transcriptome features in a PLOS Biology study.

Cancer Patients Report Quality of Life Benefits for Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors

Immune checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy was linked in JAMA Network Open to enhanced quality of life compared to other treatment types in cancer patients.

Researchers Compare WGS, Exome Sequencing-Based Mendelian Disease Diagnosis

Investigators find a diagnostic edge for whole-genome sequencing, while highlighting the cost advantages and improving diagnostic rate of exome sequencing in EJHG.